Adana governor under fire after row with protester

Adana governor under fire after row with protester

ADANA – Doğan News Agency
Adana governor under fire after row with protester

Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş has been heavily criticized after engaging in a row with a group of people protesting him. AA photo

Adana Governor Hüseyin Avni Coş is facing a storm of criticism from both ruling and opposition parties, after engaging in a row with a group protesting his support for the prime minister’s remarks on university students’ co-ed housing.

Coş was criticized after he called a protester a “p*mp,” after the protester shouted “God damn you” at him on Nov. 10. The governor later denied calling the man a “p*mp,” ("gavat" in Turkish), claiming that he had actually said the similar-sounding “kavas,” which means, “a man who walks around and rambles.”

Ten people were detained upon the governor’s instructions. All were released Nov. 11, with nine of them receiving fines of 186 Turkish Liras.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Adana Deputy Ali Küçükaydın complained about Coş in a letter sent to Interior Minister Muammer Güler Nov. 11. In the letter, Küçükaydın said Coş had given all major tenders in the cities to the same company, which he also worked for, and also claimed that the governor was involved in wiretapping deputies and mayors, daily Hürriyet reported.

Güler, meanwhile, said the governor’s reaction was “not elegant.” 

“It is not appropriate for the state’s governor to respond to a citizen this way, even though there was a disturbing dialogue. I have instructed officials to investigate the issue, but each party will go to court. Whatever his justification is, there are legal ways [to deal with it]. He can complain or give instructions. Being involved in such a row is not elegant at all. It has made me uncomfortable as well,” Güler said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy leader Sezgin Tanrıkulu noted that Coş was deputy governor in eastern Turkey during the state of emergency.

“Çoş’s ‘excitement’ must be dated back to his experience of being a deputy governor during the state of emergency between 1991 and 1994,” wrote Tanrıkulu on his Twitter account, referring to an era of gross human-rights abuses perpetrated by state officials in Kurdish areas of the country.

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy group head Oktay Vural also harshly criticized the Adana governor for his remarks.

“A man who insults the citizen has no right to be governor in Adana. That post [represents] the state. The state should not insult its citizens,” Vural said at a press conference in Parliament on Nov. 11.

A group of people holding Turkish flags protested Coş on Nov. 10 after a commemoration ceremony was held for the 75th anniversary of the death of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Coş got out of his car and pointed at several people and instructed security to detain them. He particularly targeted a man who was among dozens of protesters in front of cameras, saying: “Take that p*mp who said ‘God damn you’ to me.” Coş was also seen telling the man, “I’ll talk to you later,” in a threatening way before getting into his car. 

Defending himself on Nov. 10, Coş said the protests were a "provocation." “The protests did not accord with the meaning of today. It was a provocation,” he said.

The individual who he reportedly called a “p*mp” was identified but was not among the 10 detainees, though Coş has said he will file an official complaint against him.

The Adana governor also recently made headlines by voicing support for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s condemnation of co-ed housing, saying that for him, "the words of the prime minister are orders."